Discriminatory Zwarte Piet articles to be removed from marketplace

By Lauren Fruncillo August 19, 2020 - 6:18 pm

Bol have today released a statement regarding discriminatory Zwarte Piet articles for sale on their marketplace. According to the company, items that spread discrimination, hatred and cause hurt will be removed by the end of September and items considered controversial could also be excluded. have listened closely to feedback provided by their consumers and partners and have spoken with experts and governing bodies to properly assess what is controversial, discriminatory and offensive. They have identified ‘Zwarte Piet’ a dutch tradition depicting ‘blackface’ as needing to be removed.

For years we have emphasized Sinterklaas and gifts in our communications, so ‘Piet’ no longer plays a role in this. Last year we took the decision to exclude product images showing completely dark-painted people, especially in the fancy dress range and therefore also in the case of ‘Zwarte Piet’. This year we are going one step further in our policy.

As well as removing articles featuring ‘Zwarte Piet’ the following changes will be put in place by the end of September:

– ‘Zwarte Piet’ will be changed to ‘Piet’

– ‘Skin tone’ is adjusted to ‘beige’ or another appropriate color when referring to a white skin tone.

Bol recognises that ‘Zwarte Piet’ can be hurtful and so, articles with images of Zwarte Piet as a stereotypical caricature (in addition to the images of people who are completely painted in dark, who are already banned) will be removed and banned. This change will also apply to the books, films and music categories unless they provide an educational perspective. Pete costumes can continue to be sold, provided they do not portray a stereotypical caricature such as a black wig.

Sales partners have until the end of September to sell or remove items going against these new policies. After that, Bol will actively ban these from their platform.

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